Protesters getting stitched up in Narrabri

SHOW OF ACTION: The group of knitting nannas takes a stand in front of the Narrabri Court yesterday as dozens of protesters front up on charges.

SHOW OF ACTION: The group of knitting nannas takes a stand in front of the Narrabri Court yesterday as dozens of protesters front up on charges.

A GROUP of knitting nannas isn’t a common sight at a court house, but it was the order of the day in Narrabri yesterday as more than 100 mining protesters were ordered to front court.

In an extraordinary show of support for dozens of activists charged over recent mining protests, the group set up outside the court in a bid to send their own message.

Among the needles and wool, the knitting nannas spent the day teaching some of the younger activists how to knit as the court moved through the lengthy list.

Draped throughout the front yard were messages of support for the protesters and signs they stand together on the controversial mining issue.

Armidale’s Pat Schultz was just one of those charged with offences after she locked herself to the axel of a truck in the Pilliga earlier this month.

Mrs Schultz, a former Greens candidate and passionate campaigner, has signalled she will fight charges of impeding a driver and failing to leave enclosed lands when directed by police.

“[On Monday] there was another action in the Leard Forest, the general consensus from the people in the forest is that this will not stop us,” she told The Leader.

Mrs Schultz was not required to enter a plea but she’s rejected any suggestion the group are militant greens.

“There has been people that are employed in the legal industry, a barrister, I work in community services, Marty Branighan is a doctor at the university, Scotty has been charged and he is a tree lopper,” she said.

“We come from all walks of life.

“They take time off work to come here, to protest and then they go back to work.”

And the rolling list of those charged will continue to litter the court list with dozens charged in a mass protest in the Leard Forest, while more than 20 have been charged over protests in the Pilliga Forest.

Solicitor Peter Long is representing 53 of the accused and said it’s a real mixed bag.

“Some have pleaded guilty, some have pleaded not guilty, some people who are charged with a number of offences have pleaded guilty to one of the offences but not guilty to the others,” he said yesterday.

Many protesters were not required to turn up yesterday, or have said they will plead guilty to avoid numerous trips to Narrabri Court.

But one thing Mr Long said is for certain, police and prosecutors have a busy time ahead as they prepare “a tsunami of briefs of evidence” against the accused.

“Each person is innocent until proven guilty,” he said.

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